For our wedding anniversary, we decided to do a short weekend trip nearby. A friend recommended Mystic, which is only a 2.5 hour drive from Jersey City. I have fond memories of visiting the Mystic Aquarium as a child and was looking forward to returning.
Founded in 1654, the village of Mystic was an important shipping port during the clipper ship era. Now it is a popular vacation town with the quintessential New England charm. Here’s how to have a perfect weekend in Mystic, Connecticut.
On your first day, have a leisurely breakfast at the Bleu Squid, located in Olde Mistick Village. Spend some time browsing the 50+ shops at the village, which was designed to represent an 18th century New England village. Some of my favorite shops include Bestemor’s Imports, which features Scandinavian wares, and Sticky Situations, an artesian honey shop.
After some time meandering through Olde Mistick Village, head over to Mystic Aquarium, which is home to New England’s only beluga whales. The Aquarium has several outdoor exhibits, including one with Stellar Sea Lions. We were luckily in the area when their feeding was happening, so we were able to see the sea lions doing some tricks. The Aquarium also has several touch stations, where you can touch an assortment of rays and sharks.
When you’ve had your fill of the sea animals, check out happy hour at the Oyster Club. They have happy hour everyday from 4-5pm and offer some of the best deals I’ve ever seen. Enjoy a $6 daily margarita and $1.25 oysters on the half shell. They also have an excellent steak frites for $18, which is a steal! We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at the Oyster Club and would 100% recommend it.
Begin your second day with brunch at the Engine Room, voted as the best brunch in Mystic. They also run a happy hour during brunch, offering a selection of discounted nibbles and drinks. I opted for their delicious Eggs Benedict with Engine Room Brisket and cilantro hollandaise. Make sure you make a reservation, because they fill up fast!
After brunch, check out Downtown Mystic with over 80 distinctive local shops. One of our favorite stops was Mystic Knotwork, where I picked up a variety of nautical sailor knot items. They even made a custom sized bracelet for me when the premade sizes didn’t fit my wrist. I also really liked trying all the items at Main Street Soap Emporium, where I picked up some body lotion that smelled like the sea.
After some shopping, head over to the Mystic Seaport Museum, the nation’s largest maritime museum. It is home to the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship in the world. Visitors can climb into the whaleship and see the conditions below deck for whalers. During the spring and summer months, there is an interactive village that represents a 19th-century seafaring village. We spent several hours looking at all the exhibits, ranging from whaling artifacts to sailor handicrafts.
Our weekend in Mystic was short, but sweet. We really enjoyed the atmosphere of the town. It had the New England charm, without feeling too touristy. I would love to visit again during the summer, so we could do some of the activities that we were out of season for.